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ED 216: Purpose of Education in a Democracy (Ecampus)

What is Research?

Locating Scholarly Articles

You use the search terms from your research topic to search for journal articles on a topic - usually in a database.

Start your searches with broad searches (2-3 keywords, not too specific) in a general database like 1Search or Google Scholar.  Google Scholar is simple to search in, but it does take some practice to learn how to get articles that are not freely available and to make sure you are choosing the best scholarly articles (See OSU's Google Scholar guide to learn more).

If your topic is more specialized, you may want to search in a subject database. Subject databases are available through the library for almost every topic including education. The main databases for education is called ERIC, but there are others.

Using 1Search

To help you find resources in the OSU Libraries related to your topic, try searching by subject. Many items in the library catalog have been tagged with subject headings. For example:

After you've located a subject heading that's close to what you want, you can search within it for more specific sources. Click the "Advanced Search" link next to the subject search box. Next, enter your narrowing term in the next search box.

For example, the screenshot below indicates a search that will return every item that...

  • ... has been tagged with the "Charter schools" subject heading and also
  • ... mentions "diversity" anywhere in the item's record: title, author, table of contents, etc.

Advanced Search. The first search box has "charter schools" entered. The second search box has "diversity" entered.

Do you want an ebook or a peer-reviewed article? Use the "Refine my results" options on the right side of the screen to get closer and closer to your goals. By narrowing down your searches you can focus an astounding number of items into a manageable selection.

The "Refine My Results" box. A list of different file formats, topics, and resource types.

Some search engines group multi-word phrases together with "quotation marks". For example, a search for "digital divide" in quotation marks may return documents where the words "digital" and "divide" are next to each other rather than scattered throughout the document.